Blues in Jazz

Jazz is a complicated sort of blues

A lot of jazz tunes are based on the idea of the blues. A lot tunes used fairly standard blues changes – with more harmonies than usually found in the blues

Comparing Blues and Jazz

Just try to play what’s in your heart. It is a good idea to think stuff through and a lot of people in jazz do think a lot. But I think it might be best to get in the habit of going with ones intuition. If the stereotypical blues guy was saying “I feel so bad, my baby left me”, a stereotypical jazz guy might be saying something like “I feel down and out cause my girl left me, she was so good and all I dreamed of, she used to do this one thing that I don’t think I’ll ever forget…” (and take 5 more choruses to explain it)

Blues + Classical + Afrolatin = Jazz ?!

Sort of at least. I think a lot of the harmonies are based on European music. Obvious there is a strong influence from African music as well. Another big part of jazz has also been the interesection of standard jazz ideas with rhythms from Latin America.

The “major blues”

A blues blues


A jazz blues

How’s this for your maybe your first blues with jazz sensibilities?

G-7C7F7 D7G-7 C7

Chord substitution

You do not have to play the C-7 or the G-7, you could just play the F7 and C7. But when you play C-7 to F7 and G-7 to C7, you get a thicker, jazzier sound. These are called chord substitutions.

The turnaround

Remember how the blues has a turnaround? Well, so does blues in jazz. Look at the last two bars. You can hear it bringing you back around to the top. But it sounds a lot different than the traditional blues turnaround, huh?

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